Jewelry Design Challenge: Rapunzel

Jewelry Design Challenge Rapunzel earringsThe fairy tale theme for this week’s Self-Representing Artists in Jewelry Design blog challenge is the story of Rapunzel. Some versions of this tale are known as the “Maiden in the Tower” or, if you’re a Disney fan, Tangled. The details vary widely among versions yet there is one aspect they have in common: there’s a young woman locked in a tower.

Depending on which versions you read or saw, there’s also a witch (wicked, of course), a handsome prince (or maybe he’s just handsome but not royal), and some super long and strong hair. And of course, this being a fairy tale, there’s also “true love.” These are the symbols and themes I pondered when looking for inspiration for my jewelry design.

But first, let’s get to know Rapunzel’s story a bit. How did she end up in the tower? Again, the stories vary, but in some it begins with her father making a deal with a witch. A rather bad deal, if you ask me. He got some edible plants from the witch’s garden, for his pregnant wife’s cravings, and in return the witch gets his child when she’s born.  Really? That sounded like a fair trade? At least the beans Jack traded for the family cow were magical.

Anyway, here’s the lovely young maiden (they’re always lovely in fairy tales) who has been locked in a tower for so long that her hair has grown long enough to use as a rope.  A rope used by the wicked witch, and the handsome man/prince, to climb the tower.  What happens next? You’ll have to read the book or rent the movie to find out.

Jewelry Design Challenge Rapunzel earrings

Pink glass beads with brass wire wraps and long chain dangles, inspired by the story of Rapunzel.

While Rapunzel’s hair may have been its own character in the story, there was no way I was making jewelry with hair. Luckily, our designs don’t have to be literal. These earrings have pretty foiled pink glass beads to represent the lovely maiden. The beads are wrapped in antiqued brass wire, which symbolizes her captivity in the tower. And there are lengths of brass chain dangling from the beads, representing, well, long hair, and whatever that’s a symbol for (hint: youth, femininity, fertility, vitality).

Now, if you hadn’t read this blog about the inspiration for the earrings, what would you see? Just pretty pink beads and some brass wire and chain, right? That’s a great thing about not being too literal with an interpretation of a theme. If you know the inspiration, hopefully, you will see it in the design.  And if you don’t know the backstory, it’s still a lovely pair of earrings.

That’s it for my fairy tale jewelry designs this month. The challenge for next month will be to design jewelry for stylized eras, real and fictional. The sub-theme for next week is “Downton Abbey or Edwardian.” I’m a little apprehensive about this theme. I’ve got lots of research to do and not much time to gather my ideas or my materials.

I hope you’ll stop by next week to see if I can pull this off. To be sure you don’t miss it, or any of my other jewelry design adventures, subscribe to this blog by RSS feed, email subscription, or feed servers linked in the right column under my photo. You can also follow me on Facebookjoin me on Google+, and tune in to my Twitter feed to get updates on my newest jewelry designs, new listings in my Etsy shop, and other design challenges and adventures from Paisley Lizard.

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